JOURNAL ISSUE 6
2002/2003

 

Esko Kalevi Juntunen

THE ECONOMIC INFLUENCES OF GLOBALISATION ON SMALL COUNTRIES AND LOCAL DISTRICTS


ABSTRACT

Global economy is not only characterised by free trade of goods and services, but more by free movement of capital. Interest, exchange rates and prices of shares in different countries have a direct connection with the immense influence of the international financial markets on the economic situation. The capital invested in monetary instruments is still treated in a different way than other capital because it is transferred more rapidly than direct investments. They are transferred to places where they are expected to yield the best profits.

1. The world economy is acting more and more openly and more crude competition with firms is becoming common.
2. The New World Economy has the ability to work as one unit, in real time all over the world. The globalisation of national economies has advanced significantly as real economic activity – production, consumption, and physical investment – has been dispersed over different countries or regions.
3. Technology – especially information technology – education and know-how are the more important factors of competition. Advances in information- and computer technologies have made it easier for market participants and country authorities to collect and process the information they need to measure, monitor, and manage financial risk; to price and trade the complex new financial instruments that have been developed in recent years; and to manage large books of transactions spread across international financial centres.
4. The ideological binding to the thinking of marketing economy. Many of the decisions made by the governments are influenced by the so-called neo-liberalism ideology.

In my opinion, the main question is, what will the chosen future strategy be: a) the metropolis model, that has been chosen by Finland and the EU, or b) the model that will help develop the local regions a little more equally?

The first alternative will result in resources being concentrated to a few centres, i.e. the so-called middle-sized cities. The concentration of outputs may secure the development and competition ability, but the role of the remote regions will be pruned.

The second alternative is basiscally good and acceptable, but does not have the support of the government's national regional policy. Realistic analysis will question whether real means can be used to realise this model. If the region diffuses its outputs and uses them for many projects, it will result in core cities of the region losing their comparative positions, and the developmental trends of the countryside and other remote municipalities becoming incapable of change as a consequence of constraints, because the main developmental trend is so strong. Perhaps it does not make sense to oppose globalisation as such: the discussion must shift gears, and instead aim at identifying effective ways to increase and spread the benefits of globalisation while minimising its costs.


1. GLOBALISATION - THE MAIN TREND AT PRESENT


Globalisation means basically that when the world opens up and borders, customs and other trade barriers are removed, capital and goods can move more easily from one country to another. In practice, global activity means that everything happens more and more on a worldwide scale and time scales become shorter. People, matters and events, even if they are not primarily involved with the events, become involved because of the decision making in different parts of the world. A kind of a chain reaction occurs where liberalised competition impacts on very many already stable systems and relations. This has impacts on our everyday life. The impacts are also cultural, e.g. by standardisation or fusion or by the creating of international connections via the Internet (Kopperi 2000, 7).

According to Daniels & Lever (1996, 193), globalisation derives from four main facts: the markets, costs, competition and control measures by governments. Seven countries in the world govern direct investments and only five countries govern the worldwide trade of industrial goods. Direct investments in a certain area are based on extensive local markets and on good local labour. Globalisation creates polarisation in poor countries that also suffers from growing indebtedness to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Direct investments go through multinational enterprises and through three cities: London, Tokyo and New York.

According to Animat (2002, 2), the world has experienced successive waves of what we now call globalisation, going back far in history. These periods have all shared certain characteristics with our own: the expansion of trade, the diffusion of technology, extensive migration and the cross- fertilisation of diverse cultures – a mix that should give pause to those who narrowly perceive globalisation narrowly, as a process nurtured strictly by economic forces.

The global economy is not only characterised by the free trade of goods and services, but more by the free movement of capital. Interest, exchange rates and prices of shares in different countries have a direct connection with the immense influence of the international financial markets on the economic situation. The capital invested in monetary instruments is still treated in a different way than other capital because it is transferred more rapidly than direct investments. They are transferred to places where they are expected to yield the best profits. This leads to a circle in which even more money accumulates into funds in the hope of a bigger profit. Soros (1998) said that global financial markets are outside national and international control mechanisms. Animat (2002) discusses about the focus of globalisation from the point of view of neo-liberal economists: "Economic theory, as represented by the Heckscher–Ohlin–Samuelson model of trade, suggests that a fully integrated world economy provides the greatest scope for maximising human welfare. This proposition is based on assumptions about production (capital and labour), availability of information, and a high degree of competition. But benefits accrue even if capital and labour cannot move freely, so long as goods are freely traded." However in the real world there are many barriers to the free movement of capital and labour.

In recent years, concerns have grown about the negative aspects of globalisation and especially about whether the world's poorest – the 1.2 billion people who still live on less than one dollar a day – will share in its benefits. The beliefs that free trade favours only rich countries and that volatile capital markets hurt developing countries the most have led activists of many types to come together in an anti-globalisation movement. They highlight the costs of rapid economic change, the loss of local control over economic policies and developments, the disappearance of old industries, and the related erosion of communities. They also criticise international organisations for moving too slowly in tackling these concerns (Animat 2002, 1).


1.1. How globalisation is reviewed

In the review framework of globalisation (Figure 1) more extensive trends have been studied, such as the impacts of the sum of historical and product life-cycle theories to the dynamics and development of different economic regions. World-wide development takes place simultaneously with the development of the regions. The development of globalisation starts to have an impact on both the building-up of new structures and the dissolution of old structures. Because globalisation mainly deals with an economic process, multinational enterprises and innovative economic development become the first priority.

Very many changes with similar impacts have occurred in the world during the last few years. They have all effected the development of internationalisation. According to Kasvio (2000):
• Socialism collapsed in Eastern Europe at the end of the 1980s. At the same time some 400 million people turned towards a capitalist market economy
• The economies of several densely populated developing countries were liberalised. Such countries included, among others, Mexico, India, China and Indonesia. These countries started to compete for the investments of international enterprises with their cheaper labour and a generally advantageous tax systems. The high population in these countries is building up an important market for the future.
• Money markets were liberalised in the 1980s when international capital movements increased explosively. The liberalisation of the money markets was assisted by money moving electronic from one bank and country to another.

Transportation and data connections developed rapidly and this made it easy for the enterprises to decentralise their activities on a large scale.


• The supply of labour increased many times worldwide, when the younger generations of the previously socialist countries and densely populated developing countries entered the labour market. It has been said that these new labour markets added some 2.5 billion people to the labour force of the global enterprises.
• International large-scale enterprises became real worldwide operators. They operated actively in American, European and Asian markets.
• The focus of world's economic growth was transferred from the old industrial countries to the Asian and Pacific areas where the common growth rates of gross national product in the 1990s was between 5% and 10%, or even above this.
• Old industrial countries and the enterprises operating there suffered from growth difficulties and their problems of competitiveness increased. Little by little, a global competitive situation between the different regions arose in which countries tried to tempt new, innovative, high standard enterprises to the region. States and regions started to act according to Porter's theory of competitiveness and designed strategies to strengthen their competitive advantages that were quite similar to the corresponding strategies generated by business.

 

Figure 1. The framework of globalisation (cf. Juntunen 1999, 65; Juntunen 2001a, 2001b)


• Business centres became internationalised due to communication and formed a new kind of information metropolis. These networked and formed a cluster of complex information activities. Universities and other innovative clusters played an important role in their development.
• The importance of national states started to diminish hand in hand with the growth of internationalisation. The movements of market forces controlled economic and social policies in different countries.
• Regional economic crises began to have an even faster impact on the development of the world economy. Examples of this were the European crisis at the turn of 1990s, the Mexican peso crisis in 1994 and the Asian crisis in 1997-1998.
• With the increasing rate of internationalisation, new supra-national economic combinations (EU, NAFTA, APEC) were required, with the help of which, new rules of the game for the global markets could be created.
• It was thought that with the help of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the barriers to investments and other economic relationships could be removed.
• The generalising and spreading of international mass culture and worldwide branding made life expectancy and consumption models uniform all over the world.
• Financial globalisation has brought considerable benefits to national economies and to investors and savers, but it has also changed the structure of markets, creating new risks and challenges for market participants and policymakers. (Häusler 2002, 1)
• The IMFs role in the globalisation process is according to Huang & Wajid (2002, 2), a three pronged approach: 1) helping member countries carry out comprehensive assessments of financial sector vulnerabilities and development needs; 2) strengthening the monitoring and analysis of financial sectors, developing guidelines and promoting transparency and integrity; and 3) helping countries build strong institutions.

Jane Jacobs (1984) can be regarded as the person behind the debates. The main topic of her thesis was the modern global world, where multidimensionally networked metropolis economies are developing dynamically and are fast becoming the most important and the most sought after motors of economic progress. Particularly, in the big cities, strategically important activities of our time are frozen in a time capsule and are regarded as the headquarters of big enterprises, financial activities, important cultural institutions and organs of social and political decision-making. Such activities are in constant interaction with similar activities in other centres of the metropolises, for example, telecommunication networks, airports, etc. The surrounding environments feed the metropolises, among other things, with novel labour resources.

Castells (1998, 1996, 1997) also pointed out the role of cities in the progress of information society. According to him, many of the major cities of the industrialised countries today have in the past, developed up around large-scaled industries. The conventional activities, however, have been sought from elsewhere. They have been replaced by complex information activities, and well-paid information work professionals who need the interaction opportunities offered by major cities, for successful completion of their tasks. A lot of foreigners are arriving at major cities, some of whom make a living on information technology. A major part of them usually take up low-paid jobs in the service sector or make a living on various incomes from the informal economy sector. This leads to social polarisation in the big cities. The globally networked activities of information society form groups or clusters around currents of interactions. It is not only a question about the progress of interaction dependent on electronic networks, but also about the power and networks of social interaction. According to Castells, this is very different from the earlier phase of industrial progress of capitalism.


1.2. The focus of the phenomena influencing small countries and local districts

It is said that during the 1980s, the policy makers underwent a dramatic change in thinking. Boughton (2002, 5-7) says that macroeconomic stability and structural reform are both prerequisites for success in an open economy, and a failure in that either domain can bring down other. Secondly, as more and more countries develop open market-oriented economic and political systems, co-operation and mutual respect between official creditors and borrowers become ever more important. Thirdly, effective oversight of the international financial system requires broad agreements on the conduct of economic policy. Fourthly, stability of cross-boarder financial flows is essential if globalisation is to be generally beneficial, but this stability is a moving target because private financial markets are constantly adapting to new circumstances.

Now, it is important to note the effects of globalisation from the point of view of small Finnish municipal communities and to know how they are affected by the different choices the politicians make. But the situation is so complicated at this point, that most politicians do not really know whether they are making the right decision. At the local level, many decision-makers cannot fathom whether the effects are caused by the local decisions or by the global trends (Juntunen & Mutanen 2002, 1).
1. The world economy is acting more and more openly and more crude competition with firms is very common. Competition among the providers of intermediary services has increased because of technological advances and financial liberalisation.
2. The New World Economy has the ability to function as one unit, in real time all over the world. The globalisation of national economies has advanced significantly as real economic activity – production, consumption and physical investment – has been dispersed over different countries or regions ( Häusler 2002, 1).
3. Technology – especially information technology – and education and know-how are the more important factors of competition. According to Häusler (2002,1), advances in in- formation- and computer technologies have made it easier for market participants and country authorities to collect and process the information they need to measure, monitor, and manage financial risk; to price and trade the complex new financial instruments that have been developed in recent years; and to manage large books of transactions spread across international financial centres in Asia, Europe and the Western Hemisphere.
4. The ideological binding to the thinking of marketing economy. Many of the decisions made by the governments are influenced by the so-called neo-liberalism ideology. Häusler (2002, 2) suggests that the liberalisation of national financial and capital markets, coupled with the rapid improvements in information technology and the globalisation of national economies, has catalysed financial innovation and spurred the growth of cross-border capital movements.

Adams (2000, 1) stated that across Europe the effects of the globalisation process have led to discussions of the future of the welfare state. Whereas traditional conceptions of the welfare state have assumed that it would be possible to maintain the unity of society to the satisfaction of the majority of people, despite all the complexity and highly differentiated pluralistic attitudes regarding social fairness and liberty of the individual person and the incorporation of basic values through politics, the assumptions nowadays, increasingly, is that the antagonism between the implicit collective commitment of the modern welfare state and the right to follow one's own objectives represents an insoluble paradox (Wilding 1997).

1.3. The probable effects of globalisation on small countries and local districts

The globalisation that is currently taking place around the world, is stimulating many effects. For example (Juntunen & Mutanen 2002, 2):
1. The agglomeration effect such as migration and capital flows and inequality is becoming stronger. This can be seen as a concentration of capital flows, headquarters and international finance centres and as directing of activities of international enterprises to the cheapest or most advantageous countries from the point of view competitive advantage. Although the main stream of development is agglomeration and inequality, small firms can also achieve success if they have a very high level of know-how, quality and competitive advantage (Castells 1996, 1998). Globalisation – the process through which an increasingly free flow of ideas, people, goods, services and capital leads to integration of economies and societies – has brought rising prosperity to the countries that have participated. It has also boosted incomes and helped raise living standards in many parts of the world, partly by making sophisticated technologies available to less advanced countries (Animat 2002, 1).
2. Tax competition between the states and the blocks of the economic unions is becoming tougher. The best countries get the best enterprises and the most capital and therefore hire the most professional and skilful workers and intellectuals.
3. More commonly the point of view of international competitive advantage is taken into account in tending to social political factors such as research, education and public government
4. The development of economy of the single state is dependent on the development of global economy and local economic blocks. The freedom of action of the independent economical- and competitive advantage policy of the single state is becoming more and more limited all the time.
5. The economic blocks and the developed countries are devoting more and more to the metropolis-like model of developing, where the best results from the point of view dynamics of the economy can be achieved by concentrating all economic and mental resources to a few metropolitan areas which have strong competitive advantage.
6. The importance of information and knowledge production as a competitive factor is being emphasised and these factors are becoming the necessary conditions for development.

The globalisation forces have led to dramatic changes in the structure of national and international capital markets ( Häusler 2002, 2-4):
1) Banking systems in many countries have gone through a process of disintermediation – that is, a greater share of financial intermediation is now taking place through tradable securities (rather than through bank loans and deposits). Both financial and non-financial entities, as well as savers and investors, have played key roles in, and benefited from, this transformation. Banks have increasingly moved financial risks off their balance sheets and into securities markets.
2) Cross-border financial activity has increased. Investors, including the institutional investors that manage a growing share of global financial wealth, are trying to enhance their risk-adjusted returns by diversifying their portfolios internationally and are seeking out the best investment opportunities from a wider range of industries, countries and currencies.
3) The non-bank financial institutions are competing – sometimes aggressively – with banks for household savings and corporate finance mandates in national and international markets, driving down the prices of financial instruments.
4) Banks have expanded beyond their traditional deposit-taking and balance sheet/lending business, as countries have relaxed regulatory barriers to allow commercial banks to enter investment banking, asset management and even insurance, enabling them to diversify their revenue sources and business risks.

This radical change in the nature of capital markets has also offered unprecedented benefits, but it has also changed market dynamics in ways that are not fully understood. However, one benefit of the growing diversity of funding sources is that it reduces the risk of a 'credit crunch'. When the banks in their own country are under strain, borrowers can now raise funds by issuing stocks or bonds in domestic securities markets or by seeking other financing sources in the international markets (Häusler 2002, 4).

Another benefit of globalisation is that, with more choices open to them, borrowers and investors can obtain better terms on their financing. Corporations can finance physical investments more cheaply, and investors can more easily diversify internationally and tailor portfolio risks according to their preferences (Häusler, 2002, 4). Creditworthy banks and firms in emerging market countries can reduce their borrowing costs now that they are able to tap a broader pool of capital from a more diverse and competitive array of providers.

The fundamental benefits of financial globalisation are well known, but sudden reversals of capital flows, which may occur because investors have doubts about the viability of domestic policies or financial institutions, and that are retrenching in response to crises in other parts of the world, or that are shunning countries with similarities to a country in crisis, can threaten national and international financial stability (Huang & Wajid, 2002, 2).


2. HOW EUROPE IS ADAPTING TO GLOBALISATION

2.1. The focus of the phenomena

The main aims of European integration – strengthening economic co-operation and expanding to eastern countries – are more clearly an attempt by the European Union to respond to the challenges of globalisation. The basic goal of the EU is to create an international, compatible and firm economical block. Through economic factors, the security-policy factors can become very important factors in the future.

Internationalisation and globalisation have weakened the statuses of national states. Take, for example, take the preliminary and powerful rise of areas, i.e. glocalisation (von Tulder & Ruigrock 1993; Storper 1997). National boundaries are no longer of any importance in various regions: they face competition in the global market openly, and each of them plans their own strategies in order to survive. When entrepreneurs make their decisions on investments, they are more interested in the Finnish local spheres of activities where they operate, than in the Finnish market area. Seeing things from a provincial viewpoint is not enough, even in Finland. The regional viewpoint is also taken into consideration, for example, Finland’s regional dependency on the Ruhr region or St. Petersburg, or the collaborative Nordic region (VRT: Valtioneuvoston kanslia 2001; Kaupunkipolitiikan yhteistyöryhmä, 1997-1999, 2000).

Information and telecommunications in Europe have concentrated on two main areas, i.e. the European Ruhr region and a tiny region between Helsinki and Stockholm, that are figuratively speaking, called the 'central banana' and the 'northern potato'. Centralisation is attributed to the availability of skilled labour and good infrastructure like universities, knowledge concentration, airports, metropolitan lifestyle, and of course, the location of the market. One should not forget that the profit in capital, is generally greater when one is located closer to the market. The "Ruhr banana" region is concentrated on information technology whilst the ’northern potato’ region is primarily focused on communication technology (cf. Koski, Rouvinen & Ylä-Anttila 2001). Information and communication technology in Finland advanced more rapidly in the years 1994-1999, more rapidly than any other line of business. Finland is known as one of the most ICT- innovated national economies in the world, even though a decade ago she was one of the least specialised countries in this field (Hulkko 2001, 40).


2.2. The probable effects of globalisation on the European Union

The most essential features of the European development are as follows (Juntunen & Mutanen 2002, 2):
1) Expanding to the eastern countries of the European Union is leading to the reallocation of production, capital and workforces within the union. The production, which needs a large number of workers, is moving to the new member countries. Subseqently,, when the new member countries become wealthier, there may be an open gateway to possibilities also for the strong branches of the current members.
2) The eastern expansion may arouse conflicts within the European Union and pressure for reform of the decision-making organisation of the EU, so that the decision-making power is concentrated in the so-called hard focus countries.
3) The guiding principle of the development policy of the European Union seems to be based more and more on the so-called metropolis model, where the motors of growth are the metropolis economies and the other dynamic city areas that are in interaction with them. This confirms the agglomeration development within the union.
4) The pressures for a similar finance policy in the member countries will grow all the time, once they have acquired the same money and rates and have become greater after expanding to the eastern countries.
5) The economical competitive ability of the countries of the European Union is being measured all the time. Can the states which have demographically old citizens and rigid social structures, create the dynamic and competitive economy which brings success to the new developing countries and other economic blocks?


3. HOW FINLAND IS ADAPTING TO GLOBALISATION AND TO THE FURTHER INTEGRATION OF EUROPE

3.1. The focus of the phenomenon
The Finnish government has chosen its side in globalisation. Finland has taken part in the process as a member of the European Union, based on its conditions. The focus of the Finnish national strategy is learning strategy. The government is seemingly carrying out this strategy through the Finnish application of the metropolis model, by which the metropolis area is being developed into an international and compatible metropolis and 5-10 other city regions are supporting this metropolis area as well as competing internationally in their own strong areas.

3.2. The probable effects of globalisation on Finland

The most essential features of the Finnish development are as follows (Juntunen & Mutanen 2002, 3):
1. The agglomeration of enterprises, capital, professional labour force and population is going further.
2. With the expansion of the EU eastwards, the position of the regions, that depend on the food industry, low degree of work-up industry and agriculture, may accelerate and dwindle. The eastern expansion can create new possibilities for the strong Finnish branches, such as ICT and the forest cluster.
3. The tax competition can lead to lowering the balance of taxation in a situation, where the ageing of the population is adding to the public costs. The public economy remains tight and the municipal economy, which is regarded as a part of the public economy, is submitted to the government economy.
4. The development in Finland depends much on two aspects: 1) whether the growing international and competitive metropolis area in Finland can compete with other metropolises in Europe and the rest of the world, and 2) whether Finland can create more such city regions, that can compete with professional skills (the critical mass of education, research and product development), capital, enterprises and entrepreneurs and the development of employment and population.
5. The welfare model like in those Nordic countries will be tested. In the next decade, it will be interesting to see whether the main features of the model – equality and the universality of public services – will suffice or whether the welfare policy of our country will develop towards the Middle-European system based on labour markets or towards the Anglo-American system based on security services.


6. THE EFFECTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE ON THE STRATEGY OF THE LOCAL DISTRICT IN THE FINNISH COUNTRYSIDE

In my opinion the main question is; What will the chosen future strategy be a) the metropolis model, that has been chosen by Finland and the EU, or b) the model that will help develop the local region a little more equally?

The first alternative will result in resources being concentrated in a few centres, i.e. the so-called middle-sized cities (in my region that means Kuopio, Varkaus and Iisalmi). The concentration of outputs may secure the development and competition ability, but the role of the remote regions will be pruned.

The second alternative is fundamentally good and acceptable, but does not have the support of the government's regional policy. Besides, almost all the developmental trends will be working towards this model, when the state has accepted the policy of the new liberal doctrine. Realistic analysis will question whether real means can be used to realise this model. If the region diffuses its outputs and uses them for many projects, it will result in core cities of the region losing their comparative positions and the developmental trend of the countryside and other remote municipalities becoming incapable of change after all constraints, because the main developmental trend is so strong. Perhaps it does not make sense to oppose globalisation as such: the discussion must shift gears, and instead aim at identifying effective ways to increase and spread the benefits of globalisation while minimising its costs.

However, it can be stated that Finland has divided both urban Finland and rural Finland, very ideologically, regionally and politically. This division is the result of globalisation, where the regions of growth are located in the centre, and the recessive and degenerating regions and the victims of exclusion are located in the countryside, far away from any centre. It shows that selected progressive lines of development help to maintain the so-called welfare services, and the centralisation of these lines of development into a more centre-oriented approach helps to reorganise national debt. It is considered that the regions have to be responsible for their own appeal, scopes and advantages to survive in a competition, and to have the ability to employ people and advocate the same liberal thoughts. These are the quite normal results of global economy. When the European Union expands eastwards and the locations of the global production factors of enterprises are better, global economy will increase even more. Whether progress is good or bad depends on whether one is a winner or a loser. The winners are the larger urban areas of growth, and the losers, the areas further away from the centres. Progress of this kind has been supported legislatively, for example, in the fields of construction, traffic and education.

Hämäläinen & Niemelä (2000, 25-26) have commented that the Nordic model of social welfare is dependent upon taxation and income transfer measures carried out by the state, not only as social insurance, but also the system of social services organised by the municipalities are financed by taxation. The global market forces that are directing the Finnish state-centred system of social policy towards a market-based system of social policy prevent the state from controlling the progress of income transfer, which means an increase in income disparity.


7. THE AFTERMATH OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

In the event of September 11, 2001, the essence of globalisation has taken a dramatic turn. Ever since that ill-fated day, debates on the after-effects of globalisation have increased. Its effects on ordinary people have been examined, but mostly on Western middle-class, since they stand to lose the most from the globalisation process. The poor in the developing countries are already so far below the poverty line that they really have nothing to lose.

The IMF, which is the main actor in freeing the competition, has softened its impressions and declared the key challenges in its areas of responsibility ( Animat 2002, 4):

1) Helping the poorest countries sustain the adjustment policies and structural reforms they need to reap the benefits of globalisation.
2) Maintaining the stability of financial markets, which is especially critical, given the importance of global financial stability as international public good.
3) Helping all members to have safe access to these markets, including those countries that currently have no access.
4) Fostering a stable global macroeconomic environment.

The IMF has realised that there will not be a good future for the rich if there is no prospect of a better future for the poor. Besides being a moral question, poverty reduction is now recognised as a necessity for peace and security (Animat 2002, 5).

In globalisation, issues must find solutions in many problems. It means that issues formerly seen as national - including financial markets, the environment, labour standards and economic accountability are now seen to have international aspects. A purely national approach to solving some problems risks pushing the problems across the frontier without providing lasting solutions even at the national level.

Of vital importance, is how to solve the problem of global governance. The IMF has specified that it needs to revisit the institutions of global governance, to establish mechanisms in order to implement global solutions to global problems and to ensure that governments become more accountable (Animat 2002, 6).


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